Every scene in La La Land is a sight to behold. From stunning visuals to beautiful costume design, there doesn’t seem to be on imperfection; for Damien Chazelle’s masterful musical is two hours and seven minutes of pure, inimitable joy and heady emotion – with a handful of momentous genre moments to marvel at.
Chazelle celebrates the nostalgia of the movie musical while reinventing it with scene after scene of smile-inducing filmmaking that is such a treasure to discover for the first time. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling – who have previously been paired together in Gangster Squad and Crazy, Stupid, Love – share a sentimental on-screen chemistry that is at once moving and believable.
The triumph in La La Land is in Chazelle’s ability to write and direct a surreal and magical romance that manages to transport you to another realm while breaking your heart with its realistic handling of a modern relationship. It’s a true phenomenon of a movie. Stone gives the best performance of her career while Gosling constantly disarms you with his ever-pervading charm and boyish good looks. Both are perfectly cast here.
Justin Hurwitz has composed a score for the ages with understated tracks such as City of Stars and Mia & Sebastian’s Theme, while big numbers like Another Day of Sun hark back to Singin’ in the Rain and the glory days of Hollywood. Each song drips with warmth and wonder as the central love story takes us on a journey through a somewhat re-imagined Los Angeles. The music is as powerful as a mode of storytelling as the screenplay is – a true testament to the power of a truly good musical.
Lavish, delicately written, beautifully acted, and dastardly heart-wrenching – La La Land is everything, and more, you could ever wish for from a film.